I found this book on display at the library. I tried to walk past it, I really did, but the cover was just so gorgeous and purple I had to take it home. It has taken me forever to read, partly because I have been forced to put it down over and over because of work reading. Since I’ve a little time on my plate, I picked it back up and stormed my way through it before I had more obligation reading to do. Sinclair’s world is also such an interesting world, that I did have a little trouble wrapping my head around it. I don’t want you to think that is a bad thing, because it wasn’t so complicated that I couldn’t get through it. Quite the opposite, I was enthralled by it and wanted to make sure I was understanding it properly. The Darkborn are a race cursed to darkness and any light will burn their skin while their counterparts, the Lightborn, need light in order to live. The two races live side by side yet never see each other. The Darkborn are basically blind and have creative ways of getting about in a perpetually dark world. Balthasar Hearne, a physician who has married above his station, lives in a home that is split down the middle by a paper wall. A Lightborn assassin lives on the opposite side of the home and keeps the doctor informed of the doings in her world. Balthasar is such a good-hearted man that he takes in a woman who is in childbirth and hiding from her fiance because the children are not his. When she tries to kill the children, Bal saves them and sends them off to safety. Little does he know that that single act jeopardizes himself, his family and the lives of several others as well. It sets off a murderous chain of events that only magic, cleverness and bravery of the highest sort can stop. Telmaine, Balthasar’s wife is tested in ways she never thought possible. Alison Sinclair creates such wonderful characters, it’s hard to understand why people don’t like them. Ishmael, Baron Strumheller, mage and former Shadowhunter, was a character I fell in love with from the start. I felt like I was always holding my breath when he was on the page. His life is constantly in danger and he seems to be forever on the verge of death, yet despite his reputation (the Darkborn world has some serious Victorian morals) he is always willing to give more of himself than one should expect to receive. Loving his character was at times heartbreaking. The following passage regarding the baron was one of my favorites. If you are a strict stickler for spoilers do not read on, but it does not give much a way.
But when the baron – Ishmael – kissed her, she had felt the pain of his injured shoulder, felt the anger he still harbored, felt his fear, felt the desire like a resinous brandy, felt the aching loneliness of the outcast. Then she had felt his emotions shift as he felt hers in turn, the anger mitigated, the fear falling away, the desire becoming mingled with the surprise, the loneliness become a yearning toward her. For a moment, pure revelation of reciprocity had held her, and then she broke away, and she knew that he knew how nearly she had not broken away. (114)
Darkborn, definitely has a mystery, adventure element to it that was a lot of fun. I’ll be looking forward to the sequel Lightborn that comes out in June. It has an equally attractive cover with what I assume is Floria White-Hand on the cover. I expect an even faster paced story in this next book as the danger looms larger in this already fragile world.